Growing up in the shadow of tyranny

Irmgard Hunt was born in the 1930s and grew up in Bavaria in the very near vicinity of the place where Hitler went to unwind. In On Hitler’s Mountain she tells the story of her childhood as Germany descended into war.

The area of Bavaria where Irmgard lived was very rural and traditional but it did attract visitors on their way to see Hitler or as part of the security arrangements to protect his hideaway. Irmgard’s parents were Nazi supporters but her grandparents hated the Nazi leader which led to strife within the family. As a child, the author mostly tried to do as the others around her so this resulted in her joining the appropriate youth groups to mould her into an acceptable Aryan example of maidenhood. After the war was over, the atrocities of the regime were revealed and Irmgard grew up she re-evaluated her life and spent the rest of her adulthood warning against the dilution of democracy and the rise of tyranny.

If you have ever wondered how Germany slid into fascism in the 1930s this book shows how it happened in this community. Local people felt patriotically German and had suffered in the collapse of the Weimar republic so they saw the rise of Hitler as one of uniting and growing the country. Irmgard also shows how afraid they were of communism and how, at the end of the war, the community wished for the Americans to occupy them rather than the Russians.

The book shows that when the effects of war were biting deeply people had to make decisions about how they lived and what they did. Irmgard’s mother made decisions which didn’t always work out well for both of them but which might have been the best that she could do in the situation.

This book contains no shocks as we know how the war developed but it opens the eyes of the reader to how it actually felt to be part of the growing madness and for everything that you did to be affected by the ideology of Hitler and his followers. Interesting.

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